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Wed, May 31


Merrimans' Playhouse

Black Diamond

Black Diamond thrives on the chemistry and compositions of saxophonists Artie Black and Hunter Diamond. The variance in their tonal and stylistic approaches created a captivating sense of balance.

Registration is Closed due to COVID. ALL cancelled concerts will be rescheduled.
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Black Diamond
Black Diamond

Time & Location

May 31, 2023, 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM EDT

Merrimans' Playhouse, 401 E Colfax Ave, Suite 135, South Bend, IN 46617, USA


About the Event

TICKETS are $10 General/$5 Student.

Concerts and events made possible, in part, with support from the Wells Philanthropic Services provided by grants from the John, Anna, and Martha Jane Fields Memorial Trust Foundation and the Florence V. Carroll Charitable Trust, The Esther and George Jaruga Charitable Foundation, the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County's ArtsEverywhere initiative, and the Arts Project Support Grant and Arts Recovery Grant through the Indiana Arts Commission.

Black Diamond thrives on the chemistry and compositions of saxophonists Artie Black and Hunter Diamond. They met while studying under David Baker and Tom Walsh at Indiana University. A mutual admiration for the collaborative recordings of saxophonists Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh led them to experiment with their own two-tenor palette, and it quickly became apparent that the variance in their tonal and stylistic approaches created a captivating sense of balance. This dynamic has allowed them the unique compositional opportunity to write for the group in a way that is both deeply personal and instrumentally uncommon.

Artie Black - tenor saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet, shruti box, small instruments

Hunter Diamond - tenor saxophone, clarinet, drums and cymbals, small instruments





In Chicago, the band has been featured in residency at Andy's Jazz Club, The Drake Hotel, and The Whistler. Other performances include the 2018 Chicago Jazz Festival, and associations with the Jazz Institute of Chicago, Sounds of the City Workshop, the Anagram Series at Elastic Arts, and the Chicago Jazz Composers Collective. Recently, the band has been on three U.S. tours to Florida, Pennsylvania, and the Pacific-Northwest. As active music educators, the group has collectively been featured as guest clinicians and lecturers of jazz and ethnomusicology at Slippery Rock University (Slippery Rock, PA), Whitworth University (Spokane, WA), Pacific Lutheran University (Tacoma, WA), and Knox College (Galesburg, IL).   

August 2017 marked the release of Black Diamond's debut recording , "Mandala," on Shifting Paradigm Records. Featuring bassist Matt Ulery and drummer Neil Hemphill, the album contains nine original works by Black and Diamond. The title is inspired by the Vajrayana Buddhist practice of sand painting. The intent of a mandala is to form a representation of the enlightened mind through intricate patterning of layered grains of colored sand. The music on "Mandala" represents our grains laid; our mandala composed. "Mandala" was listed as an editor's pick in Downbeat magazine in August 2017.    

Black Diamond's second album, “Chant” (Shifting Paradigm), was recorded live at The Whistler in Chicago and released in March 2019 on Shifting Paradigm Records.  This recording built on the momentum of "Mandala" and further crystalized the band's sound.  The nature of the live recording leads to a heightened level of energy and collective improvisation.  In praise of "Chant," the Chicago Reader describes Black Diamond's ability " affirm the importance of discovering the commonalities between mediums that are bound by creativity and growth."   

The most recent from Black Diamond, "A Held Space" (Woolgathering Records) features Black and Diamond in a series of improvisational duets whose raw material was edited and produced to create a collage that represents their longstanding chemistry. Jazz Journal UK wrote that "Black and Diamond’s augmenting of their in-the-moment work stops short of straightforward overdubbing and has the effect of deepening their spontaneity and the acute degree to which they are a meeting of musical minds."

Artie Black is a saxophonist, clarinetist, composer, and educator based in Chicago. He co-leads the group Black Diamond, an ensemble that has been actively performing and touring since 2012. Artie can also be heard in groups led by drummer Gustavo Cortiñas, bassist Matt Ulery, trumpeter Alexander Massa, guitarist Jeff Swanson, trombonist Luke Malevicz, drummer Greg Artry, and many others in Chicago’s creative music scene. His newest projects are a collaborative trio with bassist / vocalist Katie Ernst and guitarist Matt Gold; and an apprenticeship and collaboration with Indian tabla master Sandip Burman.     

Originally from Butler, Pennsylvania, Artie was first inspired to pursue a career in music through lessons with Dr. Terry Steele, professor of saxophone at Slippery Rock University. Artie graduated with a degree in music education from Messiah College in 2010, and during his undergraduate years he was a student of saxophonist Tim Warfield, Jr.  Artie continued his studies at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, earning a Master's degree in Jazz Studies in 2012. At Indiana, Artie studied saxophone with Tom Walsh and worked as an Associate Instructor with legendary jazz educator David Baker.    

Artie moved to Chicago in 2012, where he quickly established himself as an important part of the creative music scene. He has appeared at the Chicago Jazz Festival, Hyde Park Jazz Festival, and as a part of the Next Gen Jazz Series, and has played as a leader and sideman at The Green Mill, Andy's Jazz Club, Jazz Showcase, Constellation, and hundreds of other venues. Recent highlights include a weeklong tour and recording with his group Living Bridge, and a series of performances and workshops with Steve Coleman's Five Elements.    

In addition to his passion for performance, Artie is fascinated by the learning and teaching process. He currently serves as adjunct professor of saxophone at Wheaton College, and also teaches at Trinity Christian College. Since 2013 Artie has worked as a teaching artist with Orbert Davis’ Chicago Jazz Philharmonic. His goal as a teacher is to inspire his students to find joy through learning for themselves.

Hunter Diamond is a creative woodwind and sound artist living and performing in Chicago. A mixture of conceptual, composed, and improvised performances keep him fully embedded in the Chicago creative arts community. In 2021 Hunter founded Curio Records which serves as the primary outlet for his recorded projects. Hunter is currently in post production on several new recordings: a new album from Black Diamond, “MASKS” (a multi-media solo project), and “Metal and Wood” - a series of improvised duets with drummers from around the country recorded between 2019 and 2021. Hunter performs with several groups of his own: Black Diamond (co-led with saxophonist Artie Black), Herbsaint (New Orleans traditional), an improvising trio with guitarist Leroy Bach and bassist John Sutton, the Hunter Diamond Quartet, Metal and Wood, and Strange Frontiers: sonifying the poetry of his father Eric Diamond. For more information on these, please visit the Active Projects page.   In 2017, Hunter was chosen as one of five recipients of the Luminarts Jazz Fellowship. With this initial award and continued grant support, Luminarts  has made possible many of Hunter’s artistic goals including touring with Black Diamond, the multi-media project “MASKS,” and a 2022 co-release between Curio Records and We Jazz Records (Helsinki). Over the course of 2018, Hunter collaborated with chef Chris Reed to develop the Got You Some party series, pairing New Orleans music and cuisine in different formats including lawn parties and experimental craft markets. 

In 2018, Black Diamond completed a month-long performance residency at The Whistler, leading to their second release “Chant”(2019) on Shifting Paradigm records.  In 2019, Hunter was an artist in residence at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, studying composition and improvisation with flautist/composer Nicole Mitchell. Many pieces were conceived and created during this time, most of which were then debuted at Chicago’s beloved Logan Square venue The Whistler in September 2019 during a month long performance/recording residency.    

Hunter makes regular visits to New Orleans, and collaborates with some of the city’s most creative musicians including James Singleton, Helen Gillet, Aurora Nealand, Justin Peake, Jeff Albert, and Mikel Patrick Avery.    

In addition to an active performance and teaching schedule, Hunter is a producer at Elastic Arts Foundation, a membership committee member at Experimental Sound Studio, 2022 curator of the 3-on-3 series at Constellation, on staff at the Pitchfork Music Festival, and a volunteer graphic designer with the Chicago Alliance Against Racism and Political Repression.


  • General

    General Advanced or Door

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  • Student

    Student Discount - College students please have ID.

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